Work in Progress, or WIP, posts are excerpts from open writing projects. All writing is my own and in the rough draft phase. Take it (but don’t actually take it, copyright me and all that) for what it is!
For more on “The Phone Call” see this previous post.
“Can I be someone’s dad?”
“The fact that you’re telling me this means that it’s absolutely fucking possible that you fathered a child.”
“Don’t play word games with me, you know what I’m asking. Am I going to be a good dad?”
I let the question hang in the air for a minute. I know he’s asking because he needs the answer; he needs me to tell him that he’s going to be a good dad and why so that he can believe it. But I don’t want to give him the answer he wants to hear. We are past that —we are past me telling him what he needs to hear to bolster himself — if he’s about to bring a life in the world; if he’s about to become a secondary concern in his own world, we are most certainly past that point. So, I think for myself for a moment and, luckily, I come up with the same answer he needs.
“Yes. Phillip, you’ve been taking care of people the entire time I’ve known you. You genuinely care about humans and their wellbeing and do what’s in your power to make their lives better. And, knowing that, I know that you will be a good dad, because if you can do that for your friends, I can only imagine what kind of instincts will kick in for your own kid.”
It’s not a plume of smoke this time, but a sigh, not quite of relief, and I hear him soaking in my words, leeching the strength he needs from them.
“If you say I can do it, I know it’s true.”
He’s always had unfailing faith in me…